Deal on new state gun control legislation, rush for flu shots, gun incidents in Troy prompt concern, grass-roots push for land bank headed off

The state legislature has reached a deal on broad, new gun control legislation. The state Senate passed the bill 43-18 Monday night, and the Assembly is expected to take it up Tuesday (and pass it easily). The foremost provision of the bill extends the state's ban on assault rifles to include any gun that includes a single characteristic on a banned list -- the current law bans guns with two of the those characteristics. Among the other provisions: a statewide database of pistol permits -- with the option for gun owners to petition to have their permit not subject to FOIL (this has been a hot issue lately because of map published by the Journal News of permit holders in a few Hudson Valley counties). [NYT] [NY Senate bill text] [State of Politics] [Buffalo News] [State of Politics] [Google News]

In an effort to stop a run on a assault rifles (and perhaps head of protest), Andrew Cuomo issued a "message of necessity" to waive the normally required three-day "aging" period for the bill. Said the governor: "If there's an issue that fits the definition of 'necessity' in the state of New York today, I believe it's reducing gun violence." [State of Politics] [TU]

If the bill is passed by the state Assembly Tuesday, New York would be the first state to pass new gun control legislation following the shootings in Newtown. And while Senate Republican conference leader Dean Skelos said the bill is "well-balanced" and "protects the Second Amendment," other Republicans criticized Cuomo's push to get the bill done before anyone else. Said state Senator Thomas O'Mara (Chemung County): "When we're dealing with issues of Second Amendment concern or any constitutional concern, we should be taking a greater and more thorough look at it with the opportunity for discussion amongst all interested parties." And Senator Greg Ball (Putnam County) accused Cuomo of pushing the legislation through quickly in order to build his resume for a presidential run. [Buffalo News] [Bloomberg] [Gannett] [NY Post]

Said a Schenectady gun store owner to the Times Union about a recent surge in sales: "It's been busy every day since our politicians started talking like the way they are. The politicians have put everybody into a buying frenzy." [TU]

Local pharmacies and doctor's offices say they've seen a recent upswing in the number of people looking to get a flu shot -- and supplies in some places are starting to run low. An executive order issued by Andrew Cuomo this past weekend allows pharmacies to give the jab to people ages 6 months-18 years, but many pharmacies have yet to start doing so as they sort out internal policies. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Troy Record]

Saratoga County DA Jim Murphy says no charges will be filed in the death of Carlton Decker, the resident of the Saratoga County nursing home who died after he was found outside the facility in late December. The DA's office says an investigation by Ballston Spa police concludes that Decker did not leave via a window, as was originally floated as a possibility, but rather "likely" knew the code for his unit's locked doors. The BSPD report Saratoga County administrator Spencer Hellwig says the facility will review its protocols. [Saratoga County DA] [TU] [Saratogian]

The two gun incidents in downtown Troy this past weekend has prompted some business owners to raise concerns about the bar scene on Broadway. Troy mayor Lou Rosamilia says the city is looking into closing bars down earlier and more code enforcement. [Troy Record] [YNN]

Albany police say they recovered six illegal guns while making six arrests in five separate incidents last week. [APD]

A Colonie woman who recently moved to New Orleans was found dead in her home Monday morning. [Fox23] [Troy Record]

The attorney for the man who says he was injured by (now former) off-duty Saratoga Springs police officer Edward Braim outside a bar on Caroline Street says his client is planning to sue Braim and the city of Saratoga Springs. The man's attorney -- Lee Kindlon -- says the city should be held accountable because he alleges the city "should have known they were dealing with a loose cannon." [Saratogian] [Kindlon Shanks press release] [TU]

The Albany parking permit system takes effect today (Tuesday). City officials say about 1,000 permits have been issued so far. (And city hall is back open following Monday's plumbing/heating/sewage problem.) [TU] [@AlbanyCityHall]

Democratic leaders in the Albany County legislature headed off a grass-roots effort to form a "land bank" to deal with blighted properties, instead pushing forward an alternate plan backed in part by an unnamed private partner. [TU]

A vacant building in Schenectady's Hamilton Hill neighborhood collapsed Monday (map). City's officials aren't optimistic they'll be able to track down the owner to be reimbursed for the cost of demolition. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Citizens for St. Patrick's has filed another lawsuit in attempt to stop the demolition of the Watervliet church building. Said a spokeswoman to the Times Union: "We are going to stick with this until we have exhausted every effort to preserve St. Patrick's and see the block developed in a way that benefits the community." (The current development plan includes a new Price Chopper.) [YNN] [TU]

A former industrial building in Schenectady is slated to be converted into 155 efficiency apartments for the YMCA's housing program as part of a $25 million project (map). [Daily Gazette]


APD: Firearms Arrests

Albany police have arrested six individuals and have recovered six illegal firearms last week.
On January 6, 2013 at approximately 12:30 a.m., officers approached a large group in front of the Port Tavern, 427 South Pearl Street. Willie Morris, of 142 Franklin Street, fled on foot and discarded a loaded .22 caliber handgun before being placed into custody.
The recovered handgun was reported stolen on September 16, 2011 to the Miami Dade Police Department.
Morris was charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon 2nd, Criminal Possession of Weapon 3rd and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property 4th.
On January 7, 2013 at approximately 11:00 p.m., an officer conducted a traffic stop in the area of Washington Avenue and Dove Street for a violation of the vehicle and traffic law. Upon further investigation the officers located a .38 caliber handgun and a .357 caliber handgun inside the vehicle.
The .38 caliber handgun was reported stolen to the Rutland Vermont Police Department.
Carsen Eckhardt, 24, of Rutland Vermont, was charged with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon 4th, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property 4th, and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana.
On January 8, 2013 at approximately 1:00 p.m., members of the Albany Police Community Response Unit executed a search warrant at 107 Lark Street as a result of an ongoing investigation. During the search detectives recovered a .357 caliber handgun.
Willie Hartfield, 62, of 107 Lark Street, was charged with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon 3rd, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 4th, and Criminal Use of Drug Paraphernalia 2nd .
On January 9th, 2013 at approximately 5:45 p.m., officers responded to 8 St. Josephs Terrace for a report of a disturbance. During the course of the investigation officers located a .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle (assault weapon) inside the home with two fully loaded magazines.
Yessenia Vasquez, 24, of 7 St. Joseph's Terrance, was charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon 2nd, Criminal Possession of a Weapon 3rd, Criminal Possession of a Weapon 4th, and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 7th.
On January 10th, 2013 at approximately 1:00 a.m., officers conducted a traffic stop at Central Avenue and Henry Johnson Boulevard as a result of an ongoing commercial robbery investigation.
Jahaad Heath, 22, of 11A Early Drive Watervliet and Aaron Jeffrey, 21, of 73 Linden Avenue of Schenectady were taken into custody for their role in several armed commercial robberies in the City of Albany.
As a result of the investigation a .410 gauge shotgun was also recovered. The shotgun was believed to have been used in the robberies.
All six individuals were arraigned in the Albany City Criminal Court.

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